Maywood People’s Choice trustee candidates (starting third from left) Kemyatta Wellington, Elijah Goodwin and Rolando Villegas pose with the Proviso East High School homecoming court after the Oct. 8 homecoming parade. Below left: Marcius Scaggs, a trustee candidate with the My Maywood party. | Daisy Winfrey/VFP
Saturday, October 15, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || UPDATED: 6:23 p.m.
The next municipal election isn’t until April 4, 2017, but now’s the time for political hopefuls to start garnering petition signatures and introducing themselves and their platforms to voters. The deadline period for filing nominating petitions for next year’s local election is Dec. 12-19.
And next year’s ballot will likely be a crowded one. In Maywood alone, no fewer than 16 seats on the village, library, park district, high school district and elementary school district boards are up for grabs.
The terms of Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins, Maywood Village Clerk Viola Mims, and Trustees Antonette Dorris, Melvin Lightford Sr., and Michael Rogers are all set to end.
Perkins has said that she’ll seek reelection. This summer, Yarbrough — who served two terms as Mayor of Maywood from 2005 until he was narrowly defeated in 2013 by Perkins — announced that he would be running for mayor. Dorris and Maywood Liquor Commissioner Mary “May” Larry have also indicated that they’ll be running for mayor.
Last weekend, some of those candidates leveraged the exposure of Proviso East’s Homecoming Parade and the Maywood Fine Arts Pumpkin Patch Parade to solicit petition signatures and publicize their candidacies.
While Perkins has noted that she intends to run as an independent, as she did during the 2013 election, she’s announced that she’ll nonetheless run with the support of three trustee candidates and one clerk candidate, all independents, collectively known as the People’s Choice Party.
“These are the ones that I’m running with,” Perkins said after last weekend’s homecoming parade, which proved to be a coming out party of sorts for People’s Choice.
“We’re not doing a slate,” the mayor said, “but we’re independent and working together for the betterment of Maywood.”
All three of the People’s Choice trustee candidates — Kimyada Wellington, Elijah Goodwin and Rolando Villegas — were in attendance at the homecoming parade and at the Pumpkin Patch Parade across town. The party’s candidate for clerk, whose identity has yet to be confirmed, wasn’t in attendance at the Oct. 8 events.
The three trustee candidates walked the homecoming parade route with supporter and sitting trustee Isiah Brandon, all four donning white People’s Choice t-shirts.
“I’m a service person all around,” said Wellington, who, like Goodwin, is running for office in the village for the first time.
Wellington, a U.S. veteran who served more than 25 years in the military, including time in Afghanistan, is a member of numerous community organizations, including the motorcycle club Nu World Ryders and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. The 44-year-old works as an investigator for the State of Illinois.
Goodwin, 41, is an Army veteran who owns an audio/video installation company and leads a local nonprofit organization.
Villegas, 32, a former Melrose Park resident who bought a home in Maywood over a year ago, ran for trustee in Melrose Park in 2013, where he garnered around 5 percent of the vote in a 12-person race for six trustee seats. Last year, he unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the District 89 school board. Villegas and his wife own a designer shoe store in Melrose Park.
“We need some fresh blood,” said Goodwin as he talked with a Maywood resident who was observing the homecoming parade from Washington Blvd.
“A lot of politicians can’t relate to the youth,” he said. “They don’t know what the youth are going through. They need youth centers and positive influences.”
The three candidates said that, if elected, they’d give Mayor Perkins the majority she needs to implement measures that would help small business owners and entrepreneurs.
The ‘My Maywood’ slate emerges
Members of the My Maywood Party were also out circulating petitions and meeting would-be voters. Unlike People’s Choice, My Maywood members are running as a slate, which comprises Larry as its mayoral candidate, Clerk Mims and trustee candidates Marcius Scaggs, Tanya Butler and Sammie Rogers, Jr.
Scaggs and Butler have both served as elected officials, and run for office, in the past. We couldn’t find any records on a previous run for office by Rogers, who the party’s website says has worked in public relations, management and sales, among other areas. The site suggests that Willis is the owner of Willis House of Refuge, a transitional housing center based in Chicago.
Scaggs, who was appointed to a trustee seat by former Mayor Yarbrough, unsuccessfully ran for village trustee in 2013 and 2015. Butler, a sitting Maywood Public Library District board member, ran unsuccessfully for a trustee seat last year.
“I’m out here in the community and people know me from my involvement with the Maywood Bucs and the Danka Basketball League,” Scaggs said, adding that he’s coached and/or officiated in both local athletic organizations.
The 52-year-old, who was recently elected president of the Neighbors of Maywood Community Organization (NOMCO) noted that he’s running against friends and people he respects. The race, he said, isn’t personal; however, it’s one his slate is prepared to win.
During the Pumpkin Patch Parade, Scaggs and Larry were armed with clipboards and election materials, and donned party t-shirts with the slogan, “New Leaders, New Vision,” emblazoned in both English and Spanish. They would intermittently cycle in and out of the 5th Ave. storefront that once housed Kathy’s Kitchen before the restaurant moved on 17th Ave.
Scaggs said he and his ticket-mates are poised to move into the space, which will serve as their party headquarters until the election next year — making them perhaps the only slate so far that has a brick and mortar presence in the village.
Yarbrough’s Maywood United Party has long occupied the Democratic Party of Proviso Township headquarters on the corner of 17th Ave. and Madison St. during elections, but Yarbrough’s party and ticket-mates, if he’s selected any (to say nothing of campaign office space), hasn’t been confirmed.
The former mayor and Rogers, who ran together on the Maywood United slate in 2013, were both at the Pumpkin Patch Parade; however, they didn’t appear to do much explicit politicking.
That was mostly left to relative political newcomers and non-incumbents like Kimberly Hopson, (pictured above right), whose independent candidacy for District 89 school board is supported by the My Maywood party.
“It’s been on my heart and mind to get more involved,” Hopson, a veteran educator and 26-year Maywood resident, said as she walked along Lake St. in last Saturday’s Pumpkin Patch Parade.
“I work in Chicago now, but I wanted to make a difference here at home,” she said. “My heart is to put my skills and education to work where I live. The experience has been good in Chicago, because I’ve been able to help take students who weren’t achieving and improve their performance. I want to bring that success to Maywood.” VFP
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly noted that Trustee Henderson Yarbrough’s seat is up in 2017. His term, however, doesn’t end until 2019.